Antec Dark Fleet 85 £100
18th May 2011 | 09:20
We check out Antec's top of the line gaming case
The DF-85 is the top banana of Antec's premier Dark Fleet range of gaming cases. It's gone for the full killer-cyborg-from-the-future look for this hefty tower chassis, opting for an aggressive rather than stylish aesthetic.
Like almost all cases for gaming rigs, the DF-85 is black inside and out, although this doesn't stretch to the screws, which are regular and shiny. The interior follows the classic template too, featuring a motherboard with power supply below it, and a vertical stack of drives down the front.
The front of the case has three potential openings, called Fleet-Release doors for no good reason. It took us a minute or two to see how to open these, expecting some neat switch or button. What we eventually discovered was nothing so accomplished: they're opened simply by flexing the plastic on one side, which isn't the most sturdy of arrangements.
You drive me crazy
Each door has a removable dust-catching grill in front of a 120mm fan, which has red LED lighting and a little rotary speed control for maximum fiddling. The doors can be locked shut from inside the case, but this is another plastic arrangement that doesn't inspire much confidence.
Behind each door are three 3.5-inch bays, giving you nine in all, which should be enough for anyone. There are no fancy screw-free fixings, but if you're lazy you can just slide the drives in without screws, although this might mean vibrations.
Four of the 3.5-inch bays are also equipped with what Antec has dubbed Fleet-Swap. At the back of the bay are the power and SATA connectors all lined-up for you. Just connect up the motherboard and then adding a drive becomes a matter of sliding it into the bay and pushing it home. It's a system that works well.
Moving towards the top of the case's front face, we have the 5.25-inch bays complete with more pointless decorative doors. On the top of the case is a hot-swap 2.5-inch bay too, the usefulness of which is questionable. Inside there's also room to screw a 2.5-inch SSD to the bottom of the case. That's a grand total of 14 drive bays.
Expansion cards are held in place by screws, but we had been hoping for some clever fixings. There's no cowl or support for your graphics cards either, so you can fit full length numbers up to 12.5 inches.
There's a processor cut-out, and cabling holes to enable you to run cables behind the board. Allowance has also been made for water-cooling, with suitable holes to the outside at the back.
Strangely for a case of this class, there's no grill to enable the bottom mounted power supply to draw air from outside.
Antec are most renowned for making fans, so not surprisingly it has fitted a lot of them, totalling seven in all. There's the three in the front doors, two in the roof and two in the back, all with red LEDs and speed controls. In standard trim its pretty capable, but the side panel is drilled for another 120mm fan if you really feel your card might need it.
The DF-85's industrial looks are like or loathe but underneath the (questionable) style is substance. It's a decent case that covers all the gaming bases, and at a ton it jolly well should do.
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